Flydubai prepares for resumption of flights

Low-cost carrier 're-engineers' entire passenger journey to ensure safety

  
Flydubai. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

Flydubai. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

Flydubai is preparing to restart international passenger services and will be announcing its routes, after months of coronavirus lockdown.

The low-cost carrier, with a network of more than 90 destinations, has grounded its fleet since late March when the UAE government shut down passenger routes to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

A spokesperson confirmed to Zawya that the airline is expected to make an announcement on its new flight schedule anytime soon, without divulging any further details.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, the budget carrier also said it has taken the necessary steps to be able to return to service “in a safe and measured way,” including an extensive disinfection programme.

“Flydubai will be announcing further details on its redefined customer journey and details of its flight schedule in due course,” the Dubai-based airline said.

Flydubai was on an expansion mode prior to the pandemic, with plans to add more aircraft to its current fleet of 57. It had earlier entered into a codeshare agreement with another homegrown carrier, Emirates.

The airline is the latest to confirm the resumption of some of its passenger services after the UAE lifted the restrictions it had imposed on the country’s carriers. Etihad Airways and Emirates have recently restarted operating inbound and outbound services following the relaxation of restrictions.

Preparations

Since the suspension of flights, flydubai said it has been making preparations for the airline’s “commercial return to service.”

“During these last few months, the airline has re-engineered the entire passenger journey following best practice from IATA (International Air Transport Association), WHO (World Health Organization) and GCAA (General Civil Aviation Authority),” the airline said.

“These efforts include an extensive disinfection program across all touchpoints throughout the customer journey,” it added.

The airline said it has put in place a “comprehensive cleaning program” and disinfects its aircraft on a daily basis. It also assured passengers that the air in its aircraft cabins is clean, with the HEPA filters being able to block out more than 99.9 percent of any particulate matter.

“The steps that we’ve taken across the UAE will enable us to return to service in a safe and measured way,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive officer of flydubai.

“Dubai, as an established centre for international aviation, has always operated to the highest international standards and the combined efforts across the industry over the last few months will allow our passengers to travel once again in a safe environment. We look forward to welcoming our passengers back on board,” he added.

Like the other major carriers, flydubai has been operating repatriation flights and, so far, it has facilitated the return of 23,000 foreigners.

Between April and the beginning of June, the carrier also transported more than 3.7 million kilos of cargo aboard 657 aircraft  to 35 destinations.

The coronavirus pandemic has decimated airline passenger demand. Despite the reopening of economies, industry sources said it would take sometime before the industry will be able to get back on its feet.

Brian Pearce, chief economist at IATA, reiterated on Tuesday that the first to recover first will be the domestic travel business. “Long haul travel will be the last to recover. [Currently], we are seeing increases in domestic travel. We are now just starting to see International routes opening up,” Pearce said told reporters during a briefing.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

cleofe.maceda@refinitiv.com

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